Liz and Caroline are both asleep in Liz’s room when Caroline hears a noise downstairs. She finds Colin outside, weak and bloody. As he passes out, he manages to ask her what she did to him. Stefan arrives later with lots of questions – whose blood is on Colin, what happened after they left Duke, and how did he find Caroline? Stefan guesses that Colin died with Caroline’s blood in his system and turned. He was able to enter the house because Liz signed it over to Caroline.
Elena spent the night at Alaric’s so she could keep an eye on Kai. Damon comes by as she’s rushing to get to a volunteer shift at the hospital. Jo made her a new daylight ring, and Elena trusts her magic enough to believe it’ll work. With a month to go before the merge, Jo will just get stronger. Elena hands off babysitting duty to Damon, since Alaric went out of town to get some magical item to give Jo an edge (in other words, they came up with an excuse to write him out of the episode). Damon invites Elena on a date that night, one so specific that she guesses it’s one they’ve already gone on. She wants them to start fresh, not just pick up where their relationship left off.
Liv and Tyler spent the night together, and they wake up brainstorming places to spend spring break (though they’re places like Atlantis and the Sea of Tranquility, which either don’t exist or aren’t actually reachable). Joshua shows up, though Liv wasn’t expecting him until that night. She makes Tyler hide while she chats with her father, who gives her a birthday present. Tyler’s surprised that it’s already Liv’s birthday.
Jo tries to practice her magic on a break at the medical center but she hasn’t mastered plant-revivification spells. Elena offers to call time of death. On the plus side, her daylight ring works. Stefan arrives with Colin, and after some tests and scans, Jo determines that Colin’s condition is so bad, he should be classified as having stage 10 cancer, which doesn’t even exist. Colin is now a terminally ill vampire with heightened emotions. Damon, who’s joined the group, wonders why he was summoned, since he obviously doesn’t care about this guy he’s never met. Caroline and Liz arrive, and Liz reveals that she’s facing the same fate as Colin.
Stefan and Elena chat while Jo tackles her new medical conundrum. Elena thinks Stefan should have talked Caroline out of giving Liz her blood until they knew more about what might happen. Stefan shoots back that she’s one to talk about rational thinking, considering what she did after Damon died. He didn’t want to take away Caroline’s hope at the possibility of saving Liz. They turn to see Caroline nearby, obviously having heard them.
Jo tells Damon that she’s going to try to stabilize Liz’s condition by giving her a full blood transfusion. Damon would prefer if she would sound a little more confident. After all, she’s both a witch and a medical professional – a witch doctor, if you will. Jo notes that he believes in her ability to do magic all of a sudden. She doesn’t know how to heal Liz using anything but medicine.
Tyler confronts Liv for telling him her birthday was in two weeks, not today. She says she wanted to avoid this exact conversation. A birthday means she and Luke are 22, which is merge age. She and Luke are going to use their “Wonder Twin powers of persuasion” to try to talk their father into letting Jo and Kai merge instead. Luke joins them and the twins try to send Tyler away. For some reason, he thinks they could use his help talking to Joshua. He reminds them of the stakes here, as if they haven’t known them their whole lives. Liv asks Tyler to trust her to handle the situation. She promises that he won’t lose her.
Elena and Damon wait together for news from Jo. He lets his vulnerable side show, saying that when it comes to humans, Liz is more “tolerable” than most. Elena promises that they’ll do anything they can to help her. As Jo comes to Stefan and Elena with an update that doesn’t look positive, Caroline laments to Stefan that she screwed up when her mother needed her most. Just like she always does as a control freak, she tried to fix something she shouldn’t have. Stefan says she’s an optimist who believes anything is possible, which is just what Liz needs right now.
They hear a yell from Colin’s room and find him stabbing himself in a pointless attempt to end his misery. Caroline promises to help him, but the only thing he wants help with is dying. Damon fulfills that wish by zooming in and tearing out his heart. He announces that Liz’s transfusion didn’t work, so now Caroline will have both Colin and Liz’s deaths on her hands.
Elena goes to see Liz, unable to track down Caroline. She lies that they’re not sure yet if the transfusion worked, but Liz knows she’s not being honest. Elena also has to break it to her that Caroline took off. Liz worries that she won’t forgive herself for this. Stefan finds Caroline at a flower shop, looking at arrangements for the memorial service she’ll inevitably have to organize for her mother. She doesn’t want his comfort, since she doesn’t think she deserves it. Stefan reminds her that Liz is still alive, but Caroline wants to busy herself doing something she’s good at instead of making things worse.
Stefan tells her that she took a risk, and though it didn’t work out, she did it out of love. She can’t just bow out of what comes next. Caroline doesn’t know what to say to Liz, but Stefan tells her to just sit with her. When he was a kid, his mother got sick, and he avoided her as much as he could under the facade of doing nice things for her. Giuseppe sent her away and she died, and that was it. Stefan would give anything to have one more day with her. Caroline worries that Liz won’t be able to forgive her, but Stefan assures her that Liz doesn’t think there’s anything to forgive. She just wants her daughter with her.
At Scull Bar, Luke and Liv have presented their offer to Joshua (no merge), who counters with another offer (yes merge). If a set of twins doesn’t merge, the Gemini bloodline ends when Joshua dies. That means the whole coven dies. Luke thinks they should at least put off the merge decision for a while to let Jo regain her skills. Joshua reminds the twins that this is what they were born to do. Liv corrects that it’s what Jo and Kai were born to do. She and Luke were the backup plan. She’s confident that Jo can win the merge.
Joshua says he’s not asking Luke and Liv to do anything he hasn’t done himself. Of course, he won his merge, so maybe they should ask his twin what he thinks OH, WAIT, THEY CAN’T BECAUSE HE’S DEAD. Joshua tries to argue that it’s not like one of them will really die – the winner will absorb traits from the loser, and their souls will unite in a new being. Luke says that being will look like him. He and Liv both know he’s the stronger twin, so for all intents and purposes, he’ll kill his twin sister if they merge.
Damon catches Tyler waking Kai from his drug-induced coma at Alaric’s place. Tyler explains that he’s trying to keep Luke and Liv from having to merge. Damon isn’t about to let Tyler just walk out with Kai so he can merge with Jo. …Or maybe he is. He gives Tyler a dose of whatever they’ve been using to keep Kai unconscious, then calls Liv (“Twinderella”) so he can talk to Joshua. Damon asks him if some planetary conjunction happening that night would qualify as a celestial event for a merge. If so, Luke and Liv need to merge, because Damon is about to release Kai and let him beat them to it.
Kai’s awake now but all the magic he siphoned from the border has drained out of him, so he’s powerless for the moment. Damon offers to let him get more magic – it’s win-win since Damon needs a magic siphoner. Kai agrees, for a price. Once the negotiation has been made, Damon takes him to the medical center to siphon the magic that’s going to speed up Liz’s death. Elena threatens to rip Kai’s head off if he screws up. Kai says he gets why Damon and Elena are together; they’re “very dys-fun-ctional.” Even Liz is already sick of this guy, telling him that listening to him talk makes her want to die.
Jo arrives as Kai is siphoning the magic out of Liz’s system. Yeah, maybe someone should have given her a heads up. Elena lets Damon explain things to Jo while she stays back and keeps an eye on Kai. Damon thinks his decision was justified, but Jo knows Kai’s going to ask for something in return, since he wouldn’t help someone just to help them. Damon reveals Kai’s price: He wants to merge tonight.
Kai finishes with Liz, but moments later, she has a heart attack. Kai guesses her heart wasn’t strong enough for the siphoning. Elena demands that he fix this, but Kai has already disappeared. Damon assures Jo that everything’s been taken care of and she doesn’t need to worry about losing the merge. Before he can elaborate on that, an invisible Kai sneaks up on him and snaps his neck. “Isn’t this the part where you start running?” he asks Jo. But she’s tired of running from him and is ready to face off with him.
Back at Scull Bar, Joshua tells Liv and Luke that he’s proud of them and will think about their request not to merge. They’re a family and they’re in this together. Ha ha, psych! He’s starting the merge now. He announces that Kai is free and going after Jo, who isn’t strong enough to beat him. Luke and Liv beg Joshua to stop, but he refuses. Tyler swoops in and interrupts the spell, yelling that Liv said no. IRONY! Tyler beats Joshua unconscious, even as Liv screams for him to stop. Luke comes up with an idea and asks Liv to trust him while he goes to put it in motion.
Kai takes Jo somewhere on campus so they can merge under the planetary whatever. He tells her he’s really sick of eclipses. He warns that if Jo is setting him up again, he’ll remove an organ more vital than her spleen. He invites her to offer up any final words. “You’re a parasite,” she replies. He killed her siblings, stabbed her, and destroyed her life. Now she’s going to destroy his.
They start the merge spell, each of them looking confident that they can win. But before they can get too far, Jo suddenly collapses. Luke appears and says he took Jo out of the picture so he can merge with Kai instead. Kai laughs in his face, since they’re not twins. Luke thinks it’ll count since they’re siblings and Kai’s time in the prison world has kept him 22 for 18 years. It might not work but Luke is willing to try it if it means saving Liv. Kai tries to take a pass but Luke magically makes him stay, asking him if he’s too chicken to face off with someone who might beat him.
Elena desperately gives Liz chest compressions, sending Damon to get a doctor. Why isn’t there one already there? This medical center sucks! Jo is the only competent doctor there! At least she has the excuse of not being there, and also not being conscious. She wakes up as Luke and Kai’s spell kicks up wind and makes some lights spark. Their eyes turn white and they both collapse. Jo cradles Luke’s head in her arms and begs him to wake up.
Damon brings a doctor to Liz’s room to shock her heart. Liz imagines herself packing a suitcase and waiting for Caroline to come say goodbye before she leaves. The doctor realizes that he can’t save Liz, even though Damon compelled him to do everything necessary for her. Damon sends him away and Elena takes the doctor’s place, trying chest compressions again. Caroline and Stefan arrive just then, seconds too late for Caroline to say goodbye to her mother.
Liz’s imagination has her finding Caroline, who won’t say goodbye to her. When Liz turns her around, Caroline’s vamped out and her face is bloody. Liz wakes up, her heart monitor showing that her heart rate is normal.
Caroline is relieved while Elena is shaken and leaves the room with Damon right behind her. She can’t believe her friend’s mother almost just died in her arms. Struck by how short life can be, she kisses Damon. He tells her this is where they left off, so it goes against her desire to start over. She tells him it doesn’t matter. She doesn’t want to waste another minute.
Later, Caroline apologizes to Liz for making her worse, but Liz doesn’t blame her and doesn’t want her to be mad at herself. Caroline mentions that Liz put the house in her name and didn’t say anything. Liz says it was just in case. Caroline tells her she’s not ready for that yet, but Liz promises to stick around as long as she can. Stefan watches them hugging, feeling bittersweet because at least one of them got at least one more day with their mother. When Caroline leaves to get coffee, Liz asks him to promise to help her daughter move on with her life. Caroline listens outside the door as Stefan says he will.
Damon finds Jo with Luke, still asking him to wake up. Damon’s pleased that she survived and he won’t have to face Alaric’s wrath. She tells him that Luke and Kai merged, and if Luke dies, it’s Damon’s fault because he released Kai. Damon offers to give Luke his blood, but Jo says they can’t affect the outcome. Whoever wakes up is the winner, and whoever doesn’t is…well, dead.
As Luke stirs, Liv frantically wonders why he didn’t come back to Scull Bar. Joshua regains consciousness and asks what Luke did. Luke wakes up, but seconds later, he dies. Joshua tells Liv that he can feel that Luke merged with Kai, and Kai won. They need to run before Kai comes for them. Liv refuses to leave Tyler, who seems to think he can protect her from Kai. Joshua takes off alone.
Kai’s awake now, and his power as the new Gemini leader is going to make him hard to defeat. He tells Jo and Damon he always wins, then disappears.
Etc.: So in the past 18 years, no other Geminis have had a set of twins who can do the merge? I know the coven is small, but what are the odds of the Parkers having two sets of twins while no other coven members have had any?
I think it’s dumb that Alaric isn’t in this episode. What if he’d lost another girlfriend and hadn’t had a chance to say goodbye? Also, considering later developments, Alaric should have been more involved in all the merge stuff.
It feels like Joshua gets worse every time I watch this season. It’s not enough that he’s willing to let one of his kids die to fulfill an obligation to the coven, but he actually wants to choose which one it is. And it’s NOT the one who murdered half their family!
‘Bye, Luke! Sorry that Liv and Jo are basically the only people who care that you’re dead.